Wednesday, August 31, 2011

M*A*S*H Issues - Questions Pondered (Part I)

Getting back into the M*A*S*H groove lately, watching a lot since Ms. Irene stopped in for a while - I have started pondering the following questions about the show...

1) Why does it seem that everyone knows all the words to every song?

It just strikes me odd to see every single character sing all the songs in lockstep with one another.  I find that hard to believe.  Watching the fifth season episode "Movie Tonight" is the best example of this.  I know a lot of songs, but I can't necessarily sing every song I hear others singing.

2) Why can we never see the men who come in over the public address system?

Now, I know the production answer to this question - they were off-camera voices - but could it have killed them to have placed one of the P.A. announcers on camera?  It looks foolish to see Radar run out of the office screaming 'choppers!' without anyone else in the office and then as they cut to an outside shot of Radar running out the door, the ubiquitous voice just magically shows up.  I guess the person to whom the voice belongs is either a) a hell of a ventriloquist or b) the time-space continuum just does not apply.

3) How and when did Colonel Potter get his gigantic bed?

This was a feature in the Season Eight episode "Heal Thyself", when Potter and Charles got the mumps and had to be quarantined together in the Colonel's tent.  When Charles had to come and share the tent, he noted that Potter didn't have a 'standard issue army cot', to which Potter replied that it came from the Sears and Roebuck catalogue and that '500 of the finest geese who ever honked, gave their all' so he could have a comfortable bed.  I want to know when this bed came about.  Other instances show him with just a cot.  Was this just a plot device for a particular episode?  I NEED TO KNOW!

4) Where did all the Generals disappear to?

In one sense, this is an easy question to answer - as the series became less ensemble-oriented, the Generals (Hammond, Clayton, Barker, Mitchell) went away.  There were others who made an appearance here and there, but the first two seasons had multiple appearances by each of these Generals (13 total - the most being six by Herb Voland as General Clayton).  In a story sense, it's just odd that all of a sudden in the third season, those lower ranking Generals just stopped showing up.  Maybe they decided that Henry Blake was in fact competent (highly unlikely, in my opinion as an advanced M*A*S*H observer), or perhaps they got bored with wanting to get it on with Margaret Houlihan.  Who know what the reasoning was.  We just know that they stopped coming.  I guess the 4077 had some horrible body odor.

5) Why does everyone feel like they are entitled to everyone else's belongings?

Starting back with the first season episode "The Longjohn Flap", it was incredibly annoying to see the completely un-ironic expectation of sharing everything - whether it was Hawkeye and BJ's bathtub (Season Seven, "None Like It Hot"), or Burns' battery-operated socks (Season Two, "Crisis"), or Charles' newspapers (Season Ten, "Communication Breakdown" - a hell of a Led Zeppelin song, too, if I may say so!).  I realize that they are 'family', in whatever sense of the word you want to take it, but when I need to borrow something, I will at the very least ask and announce my intention to use something.  These are adults there, not children. Sheesh!  

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